A recent read I've absolutely loved: Lucy Christopher's Stolen. I don't know if I'd call this a thriller, or a young adult novel, or a romance; it's somehow a mixture of all three, but not quite any of them either. Nevertheless, it's fantastic. It's the story of a teenage girl who is 'stolen' from an airport by a boy who has obsessed over her for years. He spirits her away to a desolate yet beautiful part of the Australian Outback, and tries to persuade her to stay with him and love him in turn. The strangest part of it is that by the end, such is the quality of the author's writing, you kind of want her to stay with him and love him too. That's about all I'm saying about the plot and ending, however, because I don't want to give anything away.
I've been trying to thrust it at Steve for ages, and you know a book is fabulous when you want other people to read it too. The writing not only perfectly echoes a teenage girl's thoughts and voice, it's also beautiful. The characters are superbly rendered, though I have to admit I was far more interested in Ty and Gemma than in the many secondary characters mentioned over the course of the story. The descriptions of the outback are chilling and magnificent, and I don't exaggerate when I say the language is so well chosen, you can feel every moment of the heat and the cold that Gemma does.
An amazing book.
On a different subject, inspired by this post on the Dystel and Goderich blog, I've just discovered WEbook, a website where writers can post work or create new projects, and receive feedback on their work. To add to this, there is also an active list of agents available, including their interests and recent sales, and you can submit directly to them through the site.
Okay, so this isn't completely different from sending out a regular query. But it is slightly outside of the conventional box, and it comes with the bonus of having your work out there and available for people to critique if they want to. I think a lot of writers have a kind of stubborn pride, and think they know best about their work (I know I do, though I try very hard to curb that feeling). But getting feedback from my creative writing workshops at university and from Steve, who has read the entire manuscript, has been so useful for me. So I think it's worth putting some of my work out there!
So I've created my profile, and have uploaded three chapters of ECHOES. Am fairly excited to see what happens there!